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 The Spanish Club of Pakaging celebrated last 10 November the 1st Packaging Conference, the first public event of the entity that was born with the aim of becoming a reference point and meeting point of professionals of the sector to know trends and innovations in packaging. Two of the projects of the entity that are already a reality were presented: the Professional Network of the Club and the first edition of the book "Fundamentals of Packaging Technology". The novelties of the next Hall Hispack 2012 were also presented,  and the market of packaging of food products and the demands and opportunities it presents were also analysed. The event was attended by Graphispack Association, the Spanish Institute of Packaging and Packaging (IEEE), Fira de Barcelona and the Hispack 2012 Hall.

Moderated by Ignasi Cusí, Director of the Spanish Packaging Club, and Secretary General of Graphispack Association, the day began with a welcome by Luis Juncosa, President of the Spanish Packaging Club, and Carlos Aguilar, President of IEEE. Luís Juncosa explained that the Club's intention is to become a platform for interaction and networking of all packaging professionals to share, debate, generate, create and develop knowledge and information in favor of the sector. He commented that from its beginnings “The Club has set a series of objectives, some of which we present today as a reality: the Professional Network and the first edition of the book “Fundamentals of Packaging Technology”.

For his part, Carlos Aguilar explained the different initiatives and activities that are being carried out from the Institute aimed at professionalizing the sector of packaging. Among them, he highlighted the creation of the professional course in packaging which first edition is taught at School Antoni Algueró.

The Professional Network

Sergi Deltor was in charge of presenting and performing a practical demonstration of the Professional Network of the Club that is operative for all its members. With a username and a password, the professional accesses a system of desks, one of them private and another public, with which you can start to operate. The first has restricted access only for the user and in which the desired information can be placed in folders. The second desk allows the professional to interact with other members registered in the Network. Through some icons located at the bottom of the desktop, the user can raise ideas or send messages to other members registered in the Network and in this way open forums Debate on specific topics. The system allows the professional to invite other users to join these threads. The Network also offers the possibility of establishing a direct interaction with other members who are online at the moment through a chat. The platform is completed with a powerful search engine that allows access to any information about packaging and have a profile of its own with detailed professional information.

The packaging manual

Luís Juncosa, president of the Club, and Miquel Marcé, coordinator of the packaging module at Escola Antoni Algueró, presented the first edition of the book "Fundamentals of Packaging Technology". Juncosa explained that, as a result of the agreement reached with the Institute of Packaging Professional (IOPP), it was possible to purchase the rights and translate this reference book for the packaging sector. For Juncosa, “The book is a complete manual on all phases involved in the packaging manufacturing process that allows to professionalize even more the profession”. He explained that it is a book of “reading and consultation almost mandatory for any professional who is directly or indirectly involved in the packaging industry” and announced that it is in the process of creating a packaging certification, recognized by IOPP, through the study of this manual.

Miquel Marcé pointed out that the book “is an excellent manual, with comprehensive and detailed information. Through its twenty chapters, it accurately answers any questions or problems that may arise to the professional, from designers to converters”. He explained that the manual “is a compendium on technologies, materials, etc. That can be applied to materialize an idea and that offers interesting applications to know”. He also commented that at the end of each chapter a questionnaire is presented for the professional to answer and, in this way, assimilate the concepts proposed. Marcé insisted on the importance of this manual and the need for current and future professionals in the sector to have the tools to train continuously.

Next edition of Hispack

Xavier Pascual, Director of the Hispack 2012 show, presented to the audience the news of the next edition of the Hispack Hall to be held from 15 to 18 May 2012, in the Gran Vía venue of Fira de Barcelona. He explained that the show will reconvene in Barcelona the companies and professionals of the supply and demand of the sector, in a key edition that will serve as a revulsive to resume the growth of the sector.

Pascual said that Hispack will increase the representativeness of its offer to show the entire packaging life cycle, will continue to increase the presence of international companies and visitors and will attract buyers from the main sectors of demand for machinery, equipment and packaging products and market PLV National and emerging countries. “The Hall is an excellent platform to do business, open to new international markets, generate networking and have a complete and cross-sectoral view of the sector. From the Organizing Committee we give a lot of importance to the visitor and, according to a study, the professional profile that goes to Hispack has a high decision-making power and comes from key sectors such as food, beverages, the pharmaceutical, chemical, cosmetic and perfumery sectors”. At the moment, 75% of the exhibitors have already confirmed their attendance at Hispack and according to the data of October 2011 there are already more than 23,000 square meters contracted. Hispack, which renews its alliance with BTA, expects to surpass the figure of 53,000 visitors it achieved in its last edition.

The food packaging market

Food packaging was the subject of Héctor Fuentealba, Manufacturing Development Manager of Corporate Operations in Switzerland, with a 38 year experience in Nestlé. Fuentealba explained the demands and opportunities of this market and its role in the current economic environment. He analyzed how the market presents today new opportunities and challenges that can be seen in an evolving retail, a progressive change of the consumer, a polarization of the market, a clear trend towards sustainability and the commitment to the digital world.

For Fuentealba, retail is increasingly focused on concentration, which leads to a growth of the white label, but on the other hand is allowing companies in the sector to open new specialized channels, to establish direct contact with consumers and to incorporate new Business models including e-commerce. On the evolution of the consumer pointed out that the population tends to stagnate with a progressive increase of the average age, that at the moment stands at the 39 years. On the other hand, the family tends to be smaller, with fewer members, and spending on food becomes secondary. Fuentealba is aware of the progressive polarization of the market and explained that “there is a steady increase in the emerging market (new products) and the premium market (premium products), while the mainstream market maintains its usual figures”.

During his explanation, Fuentealba also commented on two opportunities and challenges presented by food packaging. On the one hand, the digital world that allows mobile interaction with the packaging through the scanning of bar codes, and on the other hand, sustainability. On this last point, he explained that the consumer is increasingly aware of the depletion of natural resources and the phenomenon of overpopulation. In that sense, he pointed out that the packaging sector “should be efficient in the management of natural resources and that the concept of sustainability should be applied from the early stages of design through Eco-design based on the life cycle, promotion of recycling, use of renewable sources and reduction in origin”.

The second part of the conference was devoted to explain how the packaging contributes to generate value to the product. As explained, “When a person acquires a product is the result of the combination of three attributes: quality, price and perceived value. Of this last concept the responsible one is the packaging”. For Fuentealba there is a close product-container relationship. “The packaging is an integral part of the product as it communicates the brand and its attributes. Without packaging there is no product or marketing networks. Therefore, the packaging must be taken care of and in the same way as any ingredient of a product and although its manufacture has a cost, it will always add value”.

Finally, Héctor Fuentealba concluded by explaining that one of the major challenges facing the food packaging industry is eliminating waste, understood as anything the consumer does not want to pay (cost for overproduction, transportation, cost over inventory, over process , etc.)

The 1st Packaging Conference ended with the words of Javier Riera-Marsà, President of Graphispack Association, who thanked all those present for the great reception of the event and commented on how the Association and the Groupings are still working for the sector.

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